January 25th, 2016
It’s one of the rites of the New Year: seeing what industry forecasters anticipate for the upcoming year.
Sales Enablement is one the 2016 hot buttons. It is cited in multiple 2016 B2B Marketing Trends articles, including posts by Knowledge Tree, Business2Community and The Drum.
The topic caught my attention, as way back in the early years of my career I worked for a consumer products division of Bristol-Myers Squibb in a department called “Sales Merchandising”. The “merchandising” part of that name was a bit narrow.
While our department created and produced point-of-sale materials and very elaborate displays, our responsibilities were actually much more extensive in creating communications that translated marketing plans into sales-enabling content. The creations of our department ranged from internal communications detailing marketing plans and associated sales strategies and goals to presentation materials for products and promotions, sales incentive programs, multi-media productions for national sales meetings and much more.
It was a Sales Enablement department in every sense of the word – back in the sunset of the last millennium.
And now in 2016, Sales Enablement is an often mentioned trend. Why so?
Knowledge Tree is one of several sources describing the objective of Sales Enablement to be ensuring “every sales rep has the required knowledge, insights, and content to optimize each engagement with prospects and advance the deal.”
This certainly would have been our mission in that “Sales Merchandising” department I worked in so many years ago.
Taking the objective a bit further upstream, Business2Community elaborates that marketing has to become more focused on helping sales convert “leads into opportunities and opportunities into revenue.” With this is a call for more collaboration between marketing and sales, with greater integration of the objectives of each department.
Business2Community observes that “marketing is an art, but technology turns it into a science”. And that’s the cornerstone of the recent and growing interest on Sales Enablement.
Furthermore, according to Gartner Research, by 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships will be managed without customers and companies ever meeting in person. This calls for integration between marketing and sales to be as highly choreographed as a marching band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
Seriously, if your marketing plan, for all its media integration, never has included sales as an audience and has never addressed sales communications strategically, with the objective of insuring “every sales rep has the required knowledge, insight, and content to optimize each engagement with prospects and advance the deal”, the time to do this is now.